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Match Move Artist

Industries:
Animation | VFX
Personality type:
Technologist
Departments:
3D computer animation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bC3A8NgTcEE

The lowdown

  • Translating and imitating the camera movements in live action shots and matching those movements in 3D computer animations

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to:

  • be skilled in the use of the relevant software
  • be interested in computer graphics and/or computer animation
  • be methodical with an appreciation for accuracy
  • pay close attention to detail
  • understand maths and physics
  • have good communication skills
  • have good team-working skills
  • be able to take direction and be willing to address constructive feedback
  • be able to deliver on schedule, working calmly and efficiently under pressure
  • show respect for the procedures and requirements of a particular studio, production or pipeline
  • have knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures

What does a Match Move Artist do?

Match Move Artists translate and imitate the camera movements in live action shots and match those movements in 3D.

They position tracking points on live action shots and, using those tracking points, they work out the co-ordinates in the relevant 3D programme. The information they provide enables the CG geometry to fit accurately and convincingly into the live action plates when the various elements are composited by the Compositor.

They are also known as Matchmovers or 3D Trackers.

As this involves working on previously shot live action footage, the role more often exists on special effects work, within facility houses or on projects that combine live action and computer graphics.

Match Move Artists must be meticulous in their work. Without accurate match moving, the later stages of production will not work. Depending on the production, it is likely that Match Move Artists will be working on Maya, Shake or one of several 3D tracking programmes including 3D Equalizer, Maya Live or Boujou.

Will I need a qualification?

To be a Match Move Artist, it is likely you will need to gain a degree in a 3D discipline, such as computer graphics or computer animation.

If you are considering taking an animation or art and design/graphics course in higher education, the following courses have been rigorously assessed by the industry and awarded the Creative Skillset Tick for the high standard of education they provide and the degree to which they prepare you for a creative career:

Animation courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

Graphic Design and Visual Communications courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

You don’t absolutely have to be a graduate, though. In some cases, you might be able to become a Match Move Artist having gained enough relevant production experience, for example as a runner. In such a case, you would need a portfolio that demonstrated you had the necessary talent and skills. Training in at least one of the relevant industry-standard software packages will also be to your advantage.

What’s the best route in?

You could enter the animation industry in this role, particularly if you have a technical bias. Match Move Artist is one of the junior positions in the CG department and you can expect to spend between 12 and 24 months in the role before progressing to Junior TD (Technical Director).

The work is more technical than creative but, depending on your skills and interests, you could go in various directions including layout, modelling, texture, rigging or effects.

It is worth noting that, although match moving is often an entry-level role in the UK, in many American studios it can be regarded as a career.

You could apply to be a VFX Trainee through Trainee Finder, which gives you hands-on experience in the industry and helps you build those all-important contacts that are essential when competing for a job:

More information about Trainee Finder

Interested? Find out more...

Websites

  • Animation Magazine - a US magazine about the business, technology and art of animation and VFX
  • Animation World Network - production news, interviews, jobs and a big archive 
  • Shooting People – community-driven site, founded by filmmakers, and providing opportunities, news and animation jobs 
  • Skwigly Animation Magazine - the longest running UK based animation magazine and community. Offers news, interviews, reviews, podcasts, videos and tutorials 
  • Toonhound – website about cartoons, animation, comic strips and puppets in the UK
  • Own-it - offers intellectual property (IP) advice, information and learning resources for the creative sector 
  • Animation Nation - Animation industry news and useful links
  • 3D World Magazine - international magazine for CG artists, covering the fields of animation, VFX, games, illustration and architecture
  • Computer Graphics World - magazine covering innovation in computer graphics technology across various industries
  • Cinefex - quarterly magazine devoted to motion picture visual effects

Books

  • The Art and Science of Digital Compositing by Ron Brinkmann (pub. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers)
  • Digital Compositing by Steve Wright (pub. Butterworth-Heinemann)
  • Visual Effects in A Digital World: A Comprehensive Glossary of over 7,000 Visual Effects Terms by Karen Goulekas (pub. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers)
  • How to Get a Job in Computer Animation by Ed Harriss

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